The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 1
Rankings Issue - Full table of '07 revenues from 182 PR
SEEKS MORE AGGRESSIVE PR
Tex., the convention center town on the outskirts of the
Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolis, is looking for a more aggressive
PR strategy to position itself as a tourism, meetings and
Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was set up in
1988 and funded by hotel taxes, has issued a request for
qualifications to hire a PR firm for its effort to slice
a bigger part of the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas estimated
$16 billion in tourism-related spending.
PCVB said it does not currently work with a PR firm. The
goal of hiring a firm is to reach travel writers and other
journalists, organize promotional media trips, and develop
a media kit for the organization, among other tasks.
Bureau has a full-time staff of six and operates on a budget
of about $1.3M. Deadline for PR proposals is March 25. The
RFQ is at rfpdepot.com.
HARRINGTON SUCCEEDS TALBOT
Pam Talbot, 61, is stepping
down as Edelman's U.S. president/CEO on July 1 after a dozen
years at the helm.
Matthew Harrington, 45,
chair of the No. 1 independent firm's corporate group and
head of the eastern region, succeeds Talbot. The 18-year
Edelman veteran assumes command of Edelman's 1,700-strong
operation with revenues in the $270M range.
Nancy Ruscheinski, head
of the midwest region, is promoted to the COO slot. The
46-year-old takes charge of Strategy One, research; Matter,
entertainment plus practices such as consumer health, tourism,
food & nutrition, sports and multicultural marketing.
Talbot joined Edelman
in 1972 as an account executive. She was responsible for
campaigns such as Dove Beauty and the groundbreaking alliance
between Heinz and Earth Island Institute for Dolphin-Safe
MARGOLIS JOINS MS&LS
Karyn Margolis, a one-time
press secretary to New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
is now at Manning Selvage & Lee.
She is VP-corporate responsibility
and the New York representative for the firms ECO
green network, which is co-headed by Megan Jordan
in Los Angeles and Sheila McLean in Washington, D.C.
Margolis joins the Publicis
Groupes unit from Edelman, where she served as VP-CSR
and issues management in the firms Big Apple office.
She has counseled Merck,
Kraft, Heinz, AstraZeneca and American International Group
on CSR programs.
OGILVY PILOTS EADS
$40B PENTAGON PACT
Ogilvy Government Relations
is piloting European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.,
the parent of Airbus, in its successful effort so far to
land a potential $40B contract from the Pentagon for the
next fleet of Air Force tankers. The landmark contract faces
spirited opposition by those who support keeping the pact
in the hands of America-based Boeing.
aerospace giant won the business in `01, but that deal unraveled
in the aftermath of a messy procurement scandal.
Stewart Hall, managing
director of OGR, which was known as The Federalist Group
until last year, heads the EADS team. He was legislative
director to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a rare Senate
supporter of the Pentagon decision. EADS plans to build
a plant in Alabama for final assembly of the aircraft.
OGR received $240K from
EADS during the past year for the air refueling tanker
procurement project among other duties.
COMSTOCK GOES BACK TO
Beth Comstock, who headed
NBC Universals digital offerings for the past two
years, is returning to a corporate post at parent General
The former GE VP-corporate
communications and chief marketing officer now gets the
senior VP/CMO position. She is in charge of communications,
sales, and directing GEs cross-business digital efforts
in areas such as consumer health and environmental tech.
Jeff Zucker, president
of NBCU, praised Comstocks deep understanding
of the opportunities presented by the digital revolution.
PRS ANNIVERSARY UNIT YANKED
The PR Society, headed
by Jeff Julin of MGA Communications, Denver, has removed
the 60th Anniversary Committee from its website although
original plans were to celebrate the anniversary in both
2007 and 2008.
Almost no publicity on
the anniversary took place in 2007. Anniversary committee
co-chair was Joe Trahan of McDonough, Ga., who was also
chair of the Educators Academy in 2007.
(Continued on page 7)
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 2
DENIES DEFENDING HILLARY
Disney CEO Bob Iger denied a shareholder charge that the
entertainment giant is defending Hillary Clintons
campaign during a terse exchange at the March 6 annual meeting
miniseries, The Path to 9/11, is the bone of
contention. Disneys ABC-TV unit aired the controversial
program commercial-free in `06.
program criticized Bill Clintons handling of the terror
threat prior to the run-up of 9/11. Disney has not released
the series on DVD, which infuriates conservative groups
that believe the company is protecting the Presidents
legacy and shielding his wifes political campaign
from some heat.
Borelli, head of the Free Enterprise Action Fund, challenged
Iger to release the Path as a way to recoup the companys
$40M-plus loss that it suffered when Path
aired without commercials.
told shareholders that Iger has been a donor to the Clinton
campaign, and noted that Disney has promoted controversial
films in the past such as Fahrenheit 9/11, a
flick highly critical of the Bush Administration.
prior to the meeting, FEAF distributed a release on PR Newswire/U.S.
Newswire accusing Iger of putting personal politics
ahead of shareholder profits.
noted that Iger has invested thousands of dollars
in Hillary Clintons political career.
Disney CEO assured shareholders the decision not to release
the Path on DVD is based purely on business decisions.
DBM SPEAKS FOR LYNCH
DBMedia Strategies is
representing Peter Lynch, the Fidelity Investments vice
chairman who settled an SEC probe over improper gifts last
Boston-based DBM is the
firm of Doug Bailey, a former Boston Globe reporter
who was recently a senior VP for Rasky Baerlein Strategic
Bailey put out a statement
for Lynch announcing the settlement and is handling media
inquiries. In the statement, Lynch said he never
intended to do anything inappropriate, and I regret having
made those requests. He agreed to pay $16K to cover
the value of the gifts, plus interest.
Fidelity agreed to pay
$8M to settle claims that Lynch and 12 other current and
former executives took gifts like concert and airline tickets
in exchange for business with the mutual fund company. Lynch
reportedly asked for tickets to U2 and Santana concerts
and passes to the U.S. Ryder Cup golf event.
FWV WINS DIVI PR REVIEW
won a competitive review for Caribbean resort owner and
operator Divi Hotels Marketings PR account.
Divi had been working
with New York travel and tourism PR firm Adams Unlimited.
Raleigh, N.C.-based FWV
was tapped to handle national and global PR for the companys
nine resorts, focusing on the U.S., Canada, Western Europe,
the Netherlands, and South America.
MYSPACE LAUNCHES SAFETY CAMPAIGN
MySpace, the top online
social networking site, is stepping up its online safety
education efforts with a PR blitz targeting parents and
The News Corp.-owned portal
tapped New York agency Big Fuel to produce a print and broadcast
PSA campaign, Dont Stop the Dialogue that
will run for the next two months on Fox networks.
Danny Canarick, marketing
and PR manager for Big Fuel, told ODwyers that
the PSA took on online safety by recalling familiar concepts
that parents already know like teaching kids to buckle
a seat belt and not talking to strangers in the park
and associating those common lessons with teaching online
Law enforcement, legislators
on the local and national level, and interest groups have
focused on sites like MySpace and Facebook as potential
threats to childrens safety online.
In January, MySpace forged
an agreement with state attorneys general to crack down
on harmful material and tactics like cyberbullying and pornography
on social networking sites.
The suicide death of a
13-year girl believed to be the victim of cyberbullying
on MySpace brought the issue to new prominence late last
The new MySpace campaign
also includes a partnership with two online youth safety
groups iKeepSafe, which is composed of public officials,
and Enough is Enough, a non-profit that lobbies and conducts
PR efforts to highlight online child safety.
MySpace has also set up
a safety website, myspace.com/safety,
to educate parents, teachers and teens about safe online
Edelman is MySpaces
outside PR counsel.
FACEBOOK LOOKS FOR PR CHIEF
Facebook, the fast-growing
social networking site, is looking to hire a VP-communications
and public policy as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 23, seeks to add
heft to its executive roster.
The Palo Alto, Calif-based
company has just recruited Google veteran Sheryl Sandberg,
38, as COO.
Sandberg was Googles
VP-global online sales and operations, responsible for building
the search giants AdSense and AdWords programs.
Brandee Barker, a Facebook
spokesperson, told the Wall Street Journal that Zuckerberg
also is on the prowl for a General Counsel.
Facebook recorded 101M
visitors in January, according to comScore. That is up from
25M a year ago.
Zuckerberg is looking
to double revenues this year to the $350M range.
SCHWARTZ HANDLES N.Y. WINE
G.S. Schwartz &
Co. has been tapped to guide PR for the New York Wine Expo.
The firm picked
up the assignment following a competitive pitch.
The New York Wine
Expo follows a Boston show in February which attracted 20K
people and is slated for March 7-9 at the Jacob Javits Convention
More than 170 winemakers
will be on hand and 600 products will be highlighted.
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 3
CUTS 120 STAFFERS
which is a property of Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell,
is cutting 120 jobs to deal with the soft advertising
Tim Knight told staffers via a memo that his mission is
to "ensure that we are a healthy organization equipped
and motivated to succeed in this rapidly changing and challenging
marketplace." He concedes the company cannot "grow
by cutting," but he must respond to the revenue decline
by making "cost adjustments."
Grabhorn, head of a Newsweek union, believes the paper is
"getting rid of more Indians while keeping the chiefs."
ASK.COM SWITCHES GEARS
the search engine, is going to refocus its sights, and target
married women as its priority market.
The Oakland-based firm
has less than a five percent share of the $40B search market
compared to industry leading Googles 60 percent.
Ask, which was launched
as Ask Jeeves more than a decade ago, will field queries
from women on how to better manage their households, health,
childrens homework and entertainment options.
Jim Safka, who assumed
the CEO slot at Ask two months ago, says there is a lot
of excitement about the firms clear focus
and the trajectory-changing results it will deliver.
He ran Match.com, an InterActiveCorp. sister company of
Ask, prior to his new post.
Ask is laying off eight
percent of its workforce (40 people) with the new streamlined
REAL SIMPLE, TLC IN DEVELOPMENT
Real Simple magazine
and the TLC cable network have inked a deal to develop content
for TV, print, radio, internet, and in-store events targeting
women who are happy with their careers and personal
lives, but are trying to make their lives easier.
TLC has ordered 15 episodes
of a prime-time TV series to debut in August, and Real Simple
will simultaneously launch interactive digital and print
content as part of the endeavor. Ad sales will be a joint
effort by both entities. Real Simple brought in Andy Friendly,
a founding producer of Entertainment Tonight,
and David Stanley of entertainment law firm Greenberg Glusker
Entertainment, to help shepherd the deal with TLC. Friendly
and Stanley will continue to work as consultants on the
An executive producer
and host have not yet been named. Real Simple is owned by
Time Warner. TLC is part of Discovery Communications.
SPORTING NEWS BIDS ADIEU TO
The Sporting News,
which is the nations oldest sports magazine, is moving
from St. Louis to Charlotte in July. It has about 30 staffers
TSN was purchased in `06
by American City Business Journals. Paul Allens Vulcan
Sports Media was the previous owner. Allen is Microsoft
ACBJ, which publishes
41 city papers and NASCAR Scene, is based in Charlotte.
FCC PROBES BLACKOUT IN ALA.
members Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein pushed for
a probe into the Feb. 24 60 Minutes blackout
by WHNT-TV (Huntsville, Ala.) of a story about whether the
trial and conviction of Alabamas former Democratic
Governor Don Siegelman was politically motivated.
The story suggested that
former White House political advisor Karl Rove had a hand
in the matter.
WHNT issued a statement
on Feb. 28 that cited equipment failure for the eight-minute
blackout after initially pinning the blame on signal failure
Oak Hill Capital Partners,
the financial arm of the billionaire Bass brothers, owns
the Alabama station. The Bass family is a financial supporter
of President Bush.
Abernathy MacGregor Group,
speaking for the station, has denied that there was any
political motivation for the blackout.
CW CUTS COMEDY UNIT
The CW, the struggling
network of Time Warner and CBS, has eliminated its comedy
unit in a streamlining unit that trims about 25 jobs from
The drama and current
programming departments are being merged to be in a better
position to work together.
Earlier, the network announced
that its Kids WB morning unit is to be shuttered in the
The CW counts Gossip
Girls, Smallville Everyone Hates
Chris and Americas Next Top Model
among its programming jewels.
TIMES PRINTS IN PHILLY
The New York Times
has inked a deal with Philadelphia Newspapers, publisher
of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia
Daily News, to print the Times at PNs Schuylkill
plant in Conshohocken, Penn., and to distribute home delivery
for the Times throughout the Philadelphia area.
Scott Heekin-Canedy, president
and general manager of the Times, said the move is the papers
third such expansion deal, following pacts in Salt Lake
City and Dallas, and brings to 25 the number of locations
in the U.S. and Canada where its printed.
Wilbekin, former editor-in-chief of Vibe,
has been named EIC of bi-monthly urban entertainment title
Giant Magazine, published by Radio One, Inc.
Wilbekin succeeds Smokey
Fontaine, who is being promoted to chief content officer
to oversee content for Radio Ones push into the digital
Wilbekin was at Vibe for
twelve years and earlier was VP of brand development at
Marc Ecko Enterprises and consulted for Sean John, AXE,
and newlywed publisher The Knot Inc. has acquired
The Bump Media Inc., publisher of The Bump magazines,
which cover pregnancy and first-time parents. Bump magazines
are local guides in 11 markets.
news continued on next page)
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 4
RANKINGS OF INDEPENDENT PR FIRMS WITH MAJOR U.S. OPERATIONS
FIRMS RACK UP GAINS OF 20%-30%
Seven of the ten largest
PR firms reporting their 2007 net fees had gains of 10%
or more including three that were up more than 20%--Edelman,
Qorvis and ICR (formerly Integrated Corporate Relations).
APCO Worldwide, third
largest firm, grew 19% to $97.5 million.
Twenty-one of the 50 largest
firms had gains of 20% or more. This compared with last
year's "top 50" when 20 reported gains of 20%+.
A record 182 firms substantiated
their net fee and employment totals for the O'Dwyer rankings,
up from 140 last year.
The top ten, whose combined
fees, led by Edelman's $395.4 million, totaled $881M, averaged
a gain of 16%.
Edelman was up 22.2%,
Qorvis up 27.6% to $30.4M, and ICR, the financial specialist,
up 40% to $24.6M. Edelman's total is almost four times as
big as the $106M revenues of the No. 2 firm, Waggener Edstrom.
Edelman fees include $256.8M from 11 U.S. offices and $139M
from 26 offices abroad. Employment grew from 2,456 to 2,860.
Biggest Gainer in Top 50
WeissComm Partners, a
healthcare specialist with offices in San Francisco and
New York and which operates nationally, a newcomer to the
list, had the biggest growth among the top 50-up 77% to
Ruder Finn, the fourth
biggest independent with $93.5M in fees, declined 5.8%.
Peter Finn, co-CEO, said
the firm has undergone a realignment that puts more focus
on larger accounts.
In the past 120 days,
RF has added eight accounts of $1M or more, he said, as
the firm enjoyed its best new business streak in more than
Broad categories are now
health and wellness; lifestyle including consumer and travel;
global connectivity including the internet and technology,
and corporate and public affairs including the environment.
Outside New York
While 26 of the 50 biggest
ranked PR operations are headquartered in New York, only
ten of the next 50 are, indicating that locally-owned independent
PR operations are enjoying growth across the U.S.
Many of the firms only
recently sprang up and a number of them are headed by former
employees of the ad/PR conglomerates.
The principals are active
in the firms. Profits, instead of being forwarded to a parent
company, are available for adding staff and services.
While many of the independents
don't have their own offices abroad, many are members of
networks of independent firms that provide worldwide coverage
Worldcom, the biggest
network, has 93 member firms with 112 offices in 40 countries.
Fees of the group totaled $189.2 million in 2006. The fee
total for 2007 is not yet available.
Pinnacle Worldwide, which
celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, reports member
firms in 30 countries, 60 major cities, and 1,200 employees.
Other networks include
IPREX, listing 33 partner
(Continued on page 6)
Edition, March 12,
2008, Page 5
RANKINGS OF INDEPENDENT PR FIRMS WITH MAJOR U.S. OPERATIONS
here for rankings table.
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 6
RACK UP GAINS
in the U.S. and 22 abroad; Public Relations Organization
International, and Public Relations Global Network.
Firms up 30% or More
of the 181 firms had gains of 40% or more; 23 grew from
30%-39%; 27 grew from 20%-29% and 36 grew from 10% to 19%.
The total with double-figure gains was 84.
17 firms reported declines while 12 reported keeping even
with the previous year and 21 reported gains of 5% or less.
PR Firms Absent
the sixth straight year, PR firms owned by the five conglomerates
(WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic, Publicis, Havas), were not allowed
by their parent companies to report any statistics including
employment figures. They have cited the danger of being
in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley because accounting rules
differ from country to country. The last figures reported
for about 20 major PR operations and hundreds of smaller
PR firms owned by the conglomerates were in 2001.
of the conglomerate PR firms have either stopped publishing
client lists or have greatly reduced them. Only PR firms
that provide client lists are in the O'Dwyer rankings.
and WPP, the only holding companies that provide overall
PR figures, have been reporting annual growth of about 10%
but in some instances half of this growth is from acquisitions.
reported fees of its PR units grew 5.9% organically in 2006
and 12.4% including acquisitions. The fees of all its PR
units totaled $1.15 billion in 2006.
and growth via acquisitions is not always broken out by
them. The other three provide no PR statistics at all.
in Top 15
performances in the top 15 ($14.7M or more in fees), besides
Edelman, Qorvis, ICR and APCO, were registered by Waggener
Edstrom, up 11% to $106M; Text 100, up 12% to $60M; Schwartz
Communications, up 13.5% to $30.4M; Regan Communications,
up 14% to $21M, and Taylor, up 12% to $20.1M.
Soar in 16-25 Category
best growth in any single category was turned in by the
16-25 range which saw six of the firms grow by more than
grew 77% to $13M; French/West/Vaughan grew 27% to $12.2M;
Capstrat grew 37% to $12M; Peppercom grew 42% to $11.8M;
5W PR grew 24.3% to $11.5M, and CRT/Tanaka grew 21.4% to
Booth & Assocs. just missed the 20% mark in this category
by registering a 19.8% jump to $11.3M.
PR, the 16th biggest firm, grew 9.5% to $14.1M.
Jacobs Tops 26-50 Category
of the firms in the 26-50 category ($7.1M or more in fees)
had increases of 10% or more topped by Cubitt, Jacobs &
Prosek PR, New York, specialist in financial, technology
and issues management, which grew 50.1% to $8.1M.
Communications, Brighton, Mass., handling tech, business-to-business
and consumer PR, a newcomer to the list, grew 43.1% to $10.5M.
Communications, Rowson, Maryland, grew 38% to $8.7M; Jackson
Spalding, Atlanta, grew 36% to $7.1M; Healthstar, New York,
grew 35.4% to $8.9M; the Hoffman Agency, San Jose, grew
35% to $10.1M; Makovsky & Co., New York, grew 32% to
$9.2M; Levick Strategic Communications, D.C., grew 28% to
$8.5M, and Kaplow Communications, New York, grew 22% to
Tops 51-100 Category
gainer in the 51-100 range ($3.3M to $7.1M) was Kwittken
& Co., New York, which handles corporate, marketing
PR, IR and editorial services, a newcomer to the list, which
gained 55% to $3.39M.
& Co., New York, grew 48.9% to $4.8M; The Jeffrey Group,
Miami, 47% to $5.4M; Formula PR, San Diego, 46.7% to $4.9M;
Lewis PR, San Francisco, 34.8% to $6.3M; Page One PR, Palo
Alto, newly listed, 33.9% to $4M; CooperKatz, New York,
32.1% to $4.1M; New West, Louisville, Ky., 31.3% to $4.2M;
Hager Sharp, D.C., 30% to $5.4M; Pierpont Communications,
Houston, 29% to $5.8M; Schneider Assocs., Boston, 28.8%
to $3.7M, and Lou Hammond & Assocs., New York, 28% to
the $2M to $3.1M category, The Haystack Group, Atlanta,
had the biggest growth-up 246% to $2,004,766.
Other big gains under
$3 million in fees were registered by Richard Dukas Communications,
New York, newly listed, up 90% to $2.3M; Roman/Peshoff,
Holland, Ohio, newly listed, up 60% to $1.7 million; Idea
Hall, Costa Mesa, Calif., newly listed, up 45% to $1.7M;
Ground Floor Media, Denver, up 37% to $2.3M; Linhart PR,
Denver, newly listed, up 34.8% to $2.8M; JS2, Los Angeles,
up 34% to $2.1M; v-Fluence Interactive PR, San Diego, up
32% to $2.7M, and Adfero Group, D.C., newly listed, up 26.4%
RUNS MARCH 13-15
Euroblog, a partnership
of Euprera (academics and PR pros from around the world)
and Edelman will take place March 13-15 in Brussels.
About 100 leading PR practitioners
and academics have been invited to the symposium.
Dozens of speakers will
discuss social media and PR from three different angles
new ideas, new research and new business.
Participants will share
findings of the latest European and American research.
Keynote speakers include
David Brain, president and CEO of Edelman Europe; Philip
Young, University of Sunderland, U.K.; Robert French, PR
professor of Auburn University; Rick Murray, president of
Edelman Digital, and John Van Tiggelen, Institute of Communications
Brain and French will
chair a session on teaching social media.
includes the following passage: Instead of messaging
everyone, we have to move more to a two-way or even multi-way
dialogue. Word of mouth starts with great insights, and
you get great insights by listening.The web offers us a
billion-person focus group which helps companies to create
products and services that better fit the needs of their
Edition, March 12, 2008, Page 7
YANKS ANNIVERSARY UNIT
mention of the anniversary was made in Philadelphia media
in October 2007 when the Society held its annual conference
Philadelphia Inquirer publisher Brian Tierney, a
member of PRS, was one of the featured speakers, the paper
did not have any stories on either his speech, the conference
or the anniversary.
has been no mention of the anniversary in any media in Denver.
The 2008-10 Strategic Plan of the Society, unveiled last
week by Julin, makes no mention of the anniversary.
Has Brief Item
Jan. 7 Denver Post carried a two-line item reporting
that Julin had become chairman and CEO of PRS. He was quoted
in an article Feb. 29 in the Denver Business Journal
by Amy Johnson, president of Colorado chapter of PRS,
as saying that "respectful communication is key to
understanding what people need from you
the way employees,
community members, even shareholders engage with you will
be based in large part on the respect you show their differing
views and perspectives."
ink was also obtained for the 50th anniversary of PRS in
1997-98 although a 100-person task force had been created
to seek publicity.
was founded when members of the National Assn. of PR Counsel,
New York, and the American Council on PR, a West Coast group,
met on Aug. 7, 1947 at the Lake Shore Athletic Club, Chicago.
signed articles of incorporation and obtained a New York
State charter in early 1948.
PR Assn., Washington, D.C., creator of the Silver Anvil
Awards in 1949, joined in 1961.
its first 30 years, heads of the biggest PR firms such as
George Hammond of Carl Byoir & Assocs. and Kal Druck
of Harshe-Rotman & Druck, and corporate leaders such
as Kerryn King of Texaco, served as officers and directors.
the mid-1970s, smaller chapters, led by Patrick Jackson
of New Hampshire, gained control of the Assembly and passed
a bylaw blocking non-accredited members from holding national
the strategic planning committee was created in 1999 as
a "check and balance" against the board, with
most members of the 1999 committee not also on the board,
the 2008 committee is mostly board members. Julin is chair
and other members are 2007 PRS chair Rhoda Weiss, secretary
Mary Barber, chair-elect Mike Cherenson, 2006 president
Cheryl Procter-Rogers; 2007 director Gerry Corbett, and
Dave Rickey, "senior counsel" to the 2008 board.
Advocate for PR
2008-10 SP describes PRS as "the world's leading advocate
for communications professionals," saying that, among
other things, it provides "thought leadership, ethics
and professional excellence."
plan urges PRS leaders to write on "cutting-edge"
topics affecting the PR and greater communications industry.
PRS is to "facilitate roundtables and other forums."
The previous SP called on PRS to "increase the number
of accredited members" but an average of only 130 new
PRS APRs has been created in the past three years. The new
SP calls on PRS to "determine optimal levels of participation
for members" and work with the Universal Accreditation
Board to "quantify the value of the APR distinction."
Gets Little Mention
the previous SP said a major goal was to "identify
the PRS Foundation as the leader in research and education
that advances the profession," the new SP says it should
"fund best-in-class research and scholarship."
Lewton, 2001 PRS president, is 2008 president of the Foundation,
succeeding Gary McCormick.
Baker, who was chair of Honors & Awards, is chair of
the Ethics Board, replacing Linda Cohen. Baker, Dean of
the College of Communications, Fine Arts & Media, University
of Nebraska, was not a member of the EB, which is a break
in EB tradition.
Pushed to Chapters
national advocacy advisory board of 16 has been created
headed by Mary Beth West, "senior counsel" to
the board. PRS is seeking an outside contractor to develop
advocacy materials. Under "Advocacy Issues-Today"
on the PRS website, there is this notation: "This page
is currently under construction."
RUBENSTEIN DID BUILDING COLLAPSE
Howard Rubenstein is handling
PR for Kushner Cos, the owner of a five-story building that
collapsed on the afternoon of March 4 in Harlem, forcing
the suspension of Metro-North commuter line service to Connecticut
and Westchester. Jarad Kushner, principal at the firm, is
owner of New York Observer.
Rubenstein said the building
had been vacant for six months and the company had intended
to rehab the structure. Bricks from the building started
to fall two days ago, and the decision was made to demolish
The PR counselor quoted
Kushner, saying that he is grateful that nobody got hurt
and expressing remorse for the transit nightmare.
The building is one block
away from the Metro-North Station at 125th St. The police
and fire departments ordered the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority to cut train service become they felt vibrations
of the moving trains could lead to more damage.
Thousands of rush-hour
commuters at NYC's Grand Central Stations were stranded
as train service was suspended.
S&P UPGRADES IPG
Standard & Poor's
bolstered Interpublic's credit rating to "B+"
from "B" following bullish news on the earnings
and Sarbanes-Oxley fronts.
S&P cited IPG's solid
organic growth and efforts to make its internal control
deficiencies complaint with the rules set out by the Committee
of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission as
reasons for the upgrade.
The rating service has
a positive long-term outlook for the ad/PR firm, but still
frets about its high leverage, weak cash flow and profitability
measures below WPP Group and Omnicom.
Edition, March 12, 2008,
independent PR agency business is thriving throughout the
is the message from the ranking of more than 180 U.S. independents
on pages 4-5 of this issue, a big jump from the 140 ranked
firms are realizing that the best (and cheapest) way to
promote their brands is to put up their documented financials
each year, even if they had a bad year.
so gets them not only in the main ranking but geographical
rankings and rankings by a dozen specialized categories
ranging from agriculture and beauty/fashion to sports and
major angle to the rankings is that 66 of the top 100 PR
firms are based outside of New York.
There remain a number
of giants in the PR counseling industry that are New York-based
but the big growth is in locally-owned independent firms
where the principal or principals are active.
They have their hearts
and souls in the business and are happy at their work. They
are helping clients to grow by having expertise not only
with the press, but with all the market segments that their
clients want to reach.
They dont have to
cough up 15% and even 25% of profits to a parent
company nor take orders from other masters (some of whom
could be in Europe).
Creativity, still the
mainstay of PR, is unleashed this way. We hope the conglomerates
will again let their PR units return to the rankings, reporting
only PR fees and no ad commissions and providing account
These units are part of
publicly-owned companies and susceptible to Sarbanes-Oxley,
but there is no reason they cant document staff counts
and payroll totals.
Instead, the conglomerate
PR firms and some others are concentrating on winning awards.
WPPs Martin Sorrell,
in the 2006 annual report, says the number of awards won
by an ad agency and account wins and profits are closely
connected (8/12/07 NL). The Gunn Report, U.K., tracks award
totals from dozens of contests. Ogilvy One, for instance,
won 595 awards in 2006.
But awards cant
match rankings in credibility. Editors of publications sometimes
give out the awards, even though there are panels of judges,
and there is too great a link between winners and advertisers.
Some agencies simply flood
a contest with entries and are bound to win some awards.
PR Society, as noted on page one, is going to duck
just about all observance of its 60th anniversary year which,
oddly, it is celebrating in two years (2007 and 2008). It
was founded in the summer of 2007 but didnt get its
charter until 2008.
Almost no publicity was
obtained on the anniversary in either 1997 or 1998 and the
same is holding true for the 2007-2008 non-celebration.
PRS just does not want to talk about its past. We have plenty
of material on that including such highlights as the refusal
of the Society to remove two anti-competitive articles from
its code in 1976, forcing the FTC to issue a formal order
for this in 1977, and the 15-year practice of copying and
selling articles and whole chapters of books without the
permission of the authors.
Another skeleton in the
PRS closet is the persecution of Summer Harrison in the
mid-1980s after she dared to tell PRS (based on what she
read in this NL and newspapers) that four PRS members, including
two former national officers, gave CIA head and Treasury
Secretary Bill Casey at least 25 ideas on how to raise funds
for a PR campaign in the U.S. for the Agency. Harrison,
who asked for an investigation by the Ethics Board, was
censured twice for doing her civic duty and deserves an
apology and exoneration.
claim of PRS in its Strategic Plan (page one)
that it is the worlds leading advocate
for communications professionals and that it provides
thought leadership, ethics and professional excellence
is evidence that the Society is delusionary.
Just like the all-APR
leadership is no longer representative of the 80% of members
who are non-APR, neither is PRS representative of the PR
industry nor a leader of it.
PRS in the 1950s and 60s
did represent the industry but its obsession with APR starting
in the 1970s drove the financial specialists to NIRI, corporate
PR execs to the Arthur W. Page Society and (PR) Seminar,
and the big PR firms to the Counsel of PR Firms.
The PRS Institute broke
away in 1989 to become the independent Institute for PR
because of the insistence of PRS that the IPR board be all
PRS members are now mostly
in non-profit, healthcare, government, associations, military,
and education including PR professors and development/PR
deep geographical split has occurred in the leadership of
PRS. Thirteen of the 17 directors are either from
the south, southwest or west. The three easterners left
are Mike Cherenson, Chris Veronda and Fran Onofrio. Margaret
Hennen is from Minneapolis. None is from New York.
Academics and non-New
Yorkers rule the roost as is evident by Jeff Julins
appointment of Prof. Gail Baker of the University of Nebraska
to be Ethics Board chair even though she never served on
Three educators are national
directorsAssoc. Prof. Rosanna Fiske who as treasurer
is in line to be chair-elect; Prof. Vince Hazleton of Radford
Univ., and Prof. Dennis Gaschen of Cal. State/Fullerton.
2007 chair Rhoda Weiss has been an adjunct PR professor
for many years and director Kathryn Hubbell is seeking a
Because so many qualified
PR people are blocked from participating, there is the phenomenon
of Bob Frause of Seattle. He is not only chair of the College
of Fellows and vice-chair of the Ethics Board, but is on
the nominating committee and is chair of the task force
studying certification of PR pros in categories
such as healthcare, tech, etc.